Guyana legislators unite to address suicide epidemic

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Members of the legislature from both sides of the house met with representatives from the United Nations, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday in a bid to find solutions to the suicide epidemic plaguing Guyana.

“This time I believe we are all focused on one issue here today and those different voices have come together to find a way to treat this issue that is baffling the country greatly,” said speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland in delivering the opening remarks.

According to Scotland the legislators have recognised the need for a conversation to be generated on the issue of suicide with the aim of increasing awareness.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mikiko Tanaka in her remarks, said the UN appreciates the opportunity to hold discussion and reflect with Members of Parliament.

While the issue of suicide is not new to Guyana, Tanaka said it is still a surprise that Guyana has such high suicide rates.

“Regardless of the numbers every suicide matters and every suicide committed and attempted comes from different circumstances,” she added.

Against this background, the UN Resident Coordinator believes that this discussion is needed to address the both sensitive and sometimes dishonourable act.

She said the UN intends to work with Parliamentarians to open space in communities to talk about the issue and care for those at risk.

She is also hopeful that the talks will result new legislation to address the act which is currently criminalised by law.

The one day meeting examined an overview of suicides in Guyana and the National Suicide Strategy.

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